Rakuten went up against Amazon and eBay after it acquired Buy.com, and while it attracted third-party merchants, it struggled to attract name recognition among U.S. shoppers.
Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s (WMT) battle to claw back customers from Amazon.com Inc. In addition, Walmart and Rakuten Kobo Inc. have formed an exclusive retail alliance that will enable Walmart to begin selling eBooks and audiobooks, as well as offer Rakuten Kobo eReaders, in Walmart stores and online at Walmart.com in the United States starting later this year. Rakuten's online marketplace has 93 million registered members, capturing a huge volume of e-commerce in Japan. Walmart acquired online retailer Jet.com and announced free same-day shipping in NY, and partnered with Deliv to offer same-day grocery delivery services in San Jose, California.
Walmart is "constantly exploring new ways to make every day easier for customers by offering great experiences in stores, online, via mobile", the company's president and chief executive, Doug McMillon, said in the statement.
Apple May Halt Production Of iPhone X
That was enough to make the iPhone X the most popular iPhone Apple sold during the period, topping the iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus. At the high end, Kuo predicts Apple will release a sort of iPhone X Plus, with a 6.5-inch OLED screen and a stainless steel body.
Walmart hopes to tap into Rakuten's expertise in e-commerce as well as its big data and artificial intelligence capabilities. "This informs the software and devices we create, the books and authors we promote, and also the partnerships we build". Walmart's US online sales rose 50% in its most recent full quarter. Rakuten Seiyu Netsuper will aim to increase fulfillment capacity, enrich the merchandise offering and improve convenience for the customer. Customers will be able to use accumulated points on any of Rakuten's services. Walmart will be Kobo's "exclusive" U.S. partner, meaning it will be the biggest retailer to sell Kobo e-readers in the country, along with access to its library of over six million e-books. Walmart also plans to sell "e-book cards" in its stores, which seem to be physical cards customers can buy while shopping at a Walmart store that contain a download code for access to an e-book or audiobook after they leave the store.
The most interesting facet of the alliance however, from a USA market perspective at least, is that Rakuten will leverage Walmart to help sell its Kobo ereaders. In 2016, Japan was the second-largest market outside the US for Amazon, following Germany, with sales of $10.8 billion.
The deal will give Walmart's U.S. customers access to Rakuten Kobo's six million ebooks and audiobooks.